May 16 2012 A Synopsis Of This Morning's News... H/t to ChrisM my MP3Angel for supplying the audio files. «o»President Obama has issued a veto threat about the Violence Against Women Act which in it's recently passed-in-the-senate reauthorized form levies legal penalty enhancements not only for violence against women but also applies to same-sex marriages and other circumstances name shortly. Apparently the Republicans are trying to pass a House version, with a vote due today, that would strip the protection from the Queer folks, 'illegal' immigrant women, and Native American women. Meanwhile, ever-friendly to the opposition President Obama has invited congressional leaders to lunch today to discuss some of his budget matters.
«o»France's first Socialist president in 17 years François Hollande took office yesterday and after making an appointment of an old time socialist party member Jean-Marc Ayrault as Prime Minister he flew to Germany to meet with Chancellor Merkel, responsible for pushing austerity measures in Europe. Merkel is having problems maintaining her leadership with many local elections in Germany stripping her of representatives in the chambers of the German Bundestag (Parliament).
«o»A UN observation convoy in Syria was hit by a car bomb yesterday as the country begins to devolve into full scale military conflict between the government and fighters who are known to be covertly funded by NATO affiliated organizations.
Note that the province they were attacked at, Idlib province, is one of the insurgent strongholds, and like hustlers (which they are... with guns), the mercenaries play fast and loose with facts.
Foreign Policy Magazine (Neoliberal CNAS think tank affiliated):
Six U.N. monitors came under fire while touring Khan Sheikhoun in northern Idlib province on Tuesday. Three U.N. vehicles were reportedly hit by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) but none of the monitors were injured. Opposition fighter Major Sami al-Kurdi said, "They are now with the Free Army which is protecting them." A U.N. patrol was sent to pick up the observers on Wednesday. [In Full w/ links]
It's nice to know they're being 'protected' by the mercenaries, who it's quite obvious planted the IMPROVISED explosive devices that damaged the convoy. The Syrian government has no need for improvised devices. They have a full range of military mines etc to choose from.
«o»In what is most likely a vote of no-confidence, General John Allen, currently in command of our war on Afghanistan will most likely be transferred to the European command, but sources say that could change... Perhaps to the South American command to chase cocaine smugglers and prepare for an inevitable war on Latin America when the West's war on the Middle East and the region fails to produce the necessary results... Looted extractive resources. Africa and Central/South America's extractive resources would do, and it's a lot easier to transport troops. Remember what one US president said... Managua Nicaragua is only a few days drive away from Harlingen Texas.
In OTHER News:
Via the Toronto Star
Marijuana relieves muscles tightness, pain of multiple sclerosis: Study
Smoking marijuana can relieve muscle tightness, spasticity (contractions) and pain often experienced by those with multiple sclerosis, says research out of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
The findings, just published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, included a controlled trial with 30 participants to understand whether inhaled cannabis would help complicated cases where existing pharmaceuticals are ineffective or trigger adverse side effects.
MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord. [More @ the Star [H/t and more, Alternet]
Which leads up to an account of my court date yesterday... First a backgrounder, and then a best-of-my-ability transcript from memory of yesterday's court session.
On January 4 this year yours truly was confronted by four heavily armed police officers as I prepared to partake of the healing herb (Marijuana) at a traditional drum circle that takes place every Wednesday afternoon on the levee overlooking the lovely San Lorenzo sewage chan... unh... 'RIVER' that winds it's way to the Monterey Bay through the city of Santa Cruz California.
Twenty minutes or so and quite a few harsh words later (I identified myself but refused to spell my name for them intentionally causing the delay) I found myself the proud possessor of a ticket for Cal H&S 11357(b)... Simple possession of under an ounce of Marijuana.
I had informed the officers that I considered the pot to be medicine for pain relief due to my longstanding Carpal Tunnel diagnosis caused, not by repetitive motion injuries, but by a header at the ground yours truly took from the top step of an International Tractor-trailer in the mid-1990s.
The officers asked if I had a Proposition 215 medical Marijuana card. I informed them I was not in a financial position to afford the UNREGULATED fee for the card's issuance... Typically $100-$200 dollars, and a visit to a private doctor necessary because of the fact that despite Medical Marijuana's legitimacy in the state of California, doctors working for state funded facilities on the state payroll are prohibited by regulation from prescribing Marijuana to indigent patients, or for that matter any patient, unless they do so privately, and off the state payroll.
Due to the injury my left hand and parts of my arm experiences pins and needles about 30% of the time with my right hand experiencing the symptoms less frequently. I have not had a full night's undisturbed sleep since that time due to the fact my left hand goes numb as I sleep causing me to have to reposition myself countless times during the night.
The best the local welfare Orthopedic doctors are offering is surgery, which MAY relive the symptoms at the cost of the loss of strength and other surgery related issues, and ignores an important question; Why should the Carpal Tunnel in my hand remain inflamed almost two decades later? My requests to see a Neurologist have been refused, quite simply because IF your truly sees a nervous system specialist they will most likely find a damaged spinal structure with no remedy, meaning the ShitStem would consider me disabled and have to pay out Social Security Disability benefits.
They don't want to do that.
Flash Forward... Sometime in early April I appeared before Judge John Gallagher in Santa Cruz Superior Court Department 2 for a required formal arraignment on the misdemeanor charge which under state law is immediately reduced to a $100 dollar infraction with no jail time possible if there are no penalty enhancements such as sales or 'being in an area minors may frequent' (parks etc). I pled not guilty and the judge picked (without any input from yours truly) April 20 2012 at 1:30 PM for a court trial by judge... The only option for infractions.
On April 20 2012 at 1:30 pm I appeared at Santa Cruz Superior Court Department 2 just to find out after noting there was very little activity outside the locked courtroom that due to a 'scheduling error' my name had appeared on the 10 am docket and I was apparently ruled MIA... Bench Warrant Bait, three and a half hours before my clearly stated on paper 1:30 PM court date.
I went to the court clerk's office. There was nothing they could do. The paperwork hadn't made it to them yet.
I went back into the secured courtroom area (requiring another search) and spoke with the court secretaries. The paperwork hadn't been processed yet. There was nothing they could do, but they DID tell me to 'guard that court appearance paper with your life'.
I went home, and simply waited for my name to appear almost a month later in the Bench Warrant section of the Santa Cruz county sheriff's website. Then I went to the court clerk and showed the paper. Wherein they canceled the warrant and set a date, yesterday May 15, for an appearance before the court to re-set the date for my court trial.
Now... to the comedic portion of this show.
A transcript of what occurred in court yesterday at the end of the 8:30 am session (10:20 am) might read like this:
Judge: Mister Ray (maintaining my alias for online anonymity). You've returned to reset your date for a court trial.
Me: No sir. I'm here to make a motion to dismiss the charges in the interest of justice. My right to a speedy trial was violated.
Judge: Denied. The 'speedy trial' time is lost when you fail to appear and reset when you re-appear.
Me: Your honor, I think you really need to look at this paper I was given by the court clerk at my arraignment.
Judge (half cutting me off with a snarl): I don't have to look at any paper.
Me (also half cutting off the judge): But you honor this paper is my appointment (as I hand the paper to the clerk who hands it to the judge) paper for a court trial date and there was an error in the scheduling. I was declared Missing In Action on the 10 am docket that day, three or more hours before I was due to appear for what that paper plainly states was a 1:30 PM trial. I DID NOT waive my right to a speedy trial and my rights have been violated due to no fault of mine.
I showed up on time. I contacted the clerk IMMEDIATELY when I discovered the error but the clerk could not help, so I then went to your court secretaries as the clerk suggested, who could not help either.
Then I simply went home and waited to see if a warrant would appear... to see if this case really existed at all (said with emphasis to illustrate my frustration), and when the warrant appeared I immediately went to the court clerk and made an appointment to see you, and here I am, and (now almost shouting) I STAND BY MY MOTION TO DISMISS. MY RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL HAS... BEEN... VIOLATED!
I have done everything possible but DUE TO NO FAULT OF MY OWN I am appearing before you almost a month after the last date for the period allowed for my un-waived right to a speedy trial(April 23... three days after the original trial date)
The judge turned and thumbed through some papers on his side bar... Looked at the paper I had handed him... Thumbed some more, and turned to me.
Judge: You're right mister Ray, your right to a speedy trial has been violated. You're free to go.
Today is Wednesday... Drum Circle day again...
I plan to celebrate with a "Fat One" shared among friends.
This is Razer Raygun saying 'Happy Motoring America...' Enjoy it while you can.
And remember... Capitalism has a gun at your head every moment you're alive: